Fantastic Beasts & Where to Find Them
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is a 2016 British-American fantasy film directed by David Yates. A joint British and American production, it is a spin-off of and prequel to the Harry Potter film series. It was produced and written by J. K. Rowling in her screenwriting debut, inspired by her 2001 "guide book" of the same name. The film features an ensemble cast that includes Eddie Redmayne, Katherine Waterston, Dan Fogler, Alison Sudol, Ezra Miller, Samantha Morton, Jon Voight, Carmen Ejogo, and Colin Farrell. It is the first installment in the Fantastic Beasts film series, and ninth overall in the Wizarding World franchise that began with the Harry Potter films. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them premiered in New York City on November 10, 2016 and opened in theaters worldwide on November 18, 2016 in 3D, IMAX 3D 4K Laser, 4DX, and other large-format theaters. A sequel, , was released on November 16, 2018.
The year is 1926, and Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne) has just completed a global excursion to find and document an extraordinary array of magical creatures. Arriving in New York for a brief stopover, he might have come and gone without incident, were it not for a No-Maj (American for Muggle) named Jacob, a misplaced magical case, and the escape of some of Newt's fantastic beasts, which could spell trouble for both the wizarding and No-Maj worlds.
Why It Rocks
- The overall idea of a prequel to the Harry Potter film heptalogy is an exciting, original and interesting idea.
- The use of Newt Scamander, a character just mentioned in passing in the book of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone and in supplementary material, as the film's protagonist is a surprising and clever move.
- The way J.K. Rowling made a prequel film around a companion book of the Harry Potter series was clever and well done.
- The story involves Jacob Kowalski, a Muggle man, as one of the main characters, which is an awesome idea given that Muggles didn't have much to do in the Harry Potter films.
- We get to see how is the American wizarding world, as the only wizarding world we saw onscreen was the one from England. We also see that the word of American wizards use to refer to Muggles is No-Majs and that their have their own Ministry of Magic, known as the MACUSA.
- The New Salem Philanthropic Society. While the books and films always focus on the xenophobia of wizardkind against Muggles, it never showed any group of Muggles against wizardkind. The most intriguing aspect of this organization is its name, given that Salem was known in real life for its infamous witch trials back in the 17th century.
- Great dialogue, such as "Hey! Mr. English Guy! I think your egg is hatching." and "Just a smidge." as well as "New York is considerably more interesting than I expected."
- The gangster goblin Gnarlak. The idea of a magical gangster owning his own illegal establishment like those in crime films is original and creative.
- Like other Harry Potter films, the visual effects are great, especially its magic spell.
- The climax is entertaining and how Newt uses his Thunderbird to erase the memories of all No-Majs about the existence of magic is an unexpected way to solve the conflict.
- The surprise appearance of Johnny Depp as Gellert Grindelwald, which is well executed as the film doesn't give us the impression that Percival Graves isn't the real one until the very end.
- The performances are great, like Eddie Redmayne as Newt Scamander, Katherine Waterston as Porpentina Esther Goldstein (also known as Tina Goldstein), Dan Fogler as Jacob Kowalski, and Alison Sudol as Queenie Goldstein.
- Amazing score of James Newton Howard.
- David Yates gives good direction skills.
- The characters are very likable for most part, especially Newt Scamander.
- They just involved J. K. Rowling, the maker of the novel as the producer, like other Harry Potter films, but this time as the film's writer, making it her screenwriting debut.
- In comparison to the Harry Potter films, this film is much darker than the previous ones. While some appreciate this, this is an indicator that the series is done with playing nice and no longer suitable for younger viewers, despite that younger viewers enjoyed.
- Like previously mentioned, there are some scary and intense moments in the film, especially when Credence Barebone's Obscurial kills his victims.
- Some characters, like Gilbert Bingley, Henry Shaw Sr./Jr. and Mary Lou Barebone, are unlikable and mean-spirited.
- It doesn't contain many references to the Harry Potter films, with the mention of Albus Dumbledore and the cameo of Gellert Grindelwald at the end as one of the few references to the original series.
- The film doesn't state what happens with Chastity and Modesty Barebone after Credence's rampage is never stated onscreen. While Chastity was confirmed to be killed in the official screenplay, Modesty's status goes unmentioned and we never get to see what became of her.
- Some jokes can be a bit inappropiate for younger viewers, such as when Newt says that if Jacob had been severely bitten by a Murtlap, his first symptom would be flames out of his anus.
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them received generally positive reviews from critics and audiences. The review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes sampled 333 critics and judged 74% of the reviews as positive, with an average rating of 6.82/10. The website's critical consensus reads, "Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them draws on Harry Potter's rich mythology to deliver a spin-off that dazzles with franchise-building magic all its own.". Metacritic, which assigns a normalised rating to reviews, gives the film a score 66 out of 100, based on 50 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews".
- Newt Scamander and Tina Goldstein are playable characters in LEGO Dimensions, which is available to purchase.